By: Grace McCormick – Staff Writer
This semester, the University of Dayton installed new firewall/intrusion prevention hardware. The new updates are expected to improve online connectivity for students and faculty, according to Associate Provost and Chief Information Officer Thomas Skill.
Skill, also a communication professor, said based on research and careful analysis of UD student bandwidth usage, it was determined that doubling the Internet bandwidth from 1.5 to 3.0 GB was fundamental to provide students with a good network experience.
“The individual connection that each student will get in the residential area (wired or wireless) will connect at a speed of 20 MBPS – that’s three times faster than what students were getting in the fall,” Skill said.
It is no secret for students across campus that Internet connectivity in the past has been lacking. Sophomore Gabrielle Scragg, intervention specialist major, said often times, especially at night while doing homework, she could not connect to the Internet through UD’s network.
“Most of my assignments need to be turned in online, so when the Internet would be down I could not turn things in, which could get frustrating,” Scragg said.
Skill revealed that the total increase of bandwidth on the residential network should improve the entire network speed during the prime usage time, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Scragg said she is optimistic coming back to campus this semester knowing that the Internet speed has been improved.
A lot of work and money has gone into the improvements.
“We had to replace both our network firewall and intrusion protection system because those devices could not process the new 3.0 GB connection. The investment for this upgrade was $350,000,” Skill said.
He also said these enhancements to the Internet are a result of more than three years of research by UDit and student development.
During the past three years, both groups have been working to solve Wi-Fi coverage and capacity along with bandwidth demands.
“UDit has spent more than $1 million upgrading the Wi-Fi coverage in the residential buildings,” Skill said.
“This coming summer we will install upgraded Wi-Fi in Virginia Kettering, Stuart and most of the Garden Appartments,” Skill said. “This will make a huge difference for wireless access in those buildings and complete our major upgrades.”
UDit and Student Development, Skill said, listen to student complaints about the Internet, which is one of the reasons for the investment.
“Because we did hear from a number of students about both Wi-Fi and bandwidth problems, we were able to move these projects much faster than normal,” Skill said.
While students use the Internet at night for homework, like Scragg mentioned, Skill said that it is important to understand that the Internet is not an unlimited resource, so students need to know that binge watching Netflix movies during prime usage time can cause access problems for others on the network.
Scragg said she is happy to hear that UDit and Student Development took student complaints seriously and acted quickly to try and fix the problem.
For more information, comments or questions on the upgrades and new hardware, contact Skill at firstname.lastname@example.org.